Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

READ and THINK ABOUT READING during the June-August holiday

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Dear Parents and Students,

The publishers of English Literature for schools, Glencoe, has created an online reference for English texts. The website has a list of books arranged alphabetically by title. When you click on the title, a page will open in which a synopsis of the plot is written so that you can decide if the text is one that you would like to read. You can buy most of the texts from, National Bookstore or other online and local bookstores. What is of great relevance, is that Glencoe provides downloadable (.pdf) reading guides with background information and worksheets to accompany the reading text. The books listed are appropriate for students in grades 6 to 9.

Click on the link here to access the Glencoe site: GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY

Here are MORE suggested texts to read during the holiday (if you can read at least 5, you are doing well in maintaining and developing your current level of English proficiency) :

For students in mainstream Grade 9 English

“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding [youtube][/youtube]

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins (series)

“Journey to Jo’burg” by Beverly Naidoo

“Journey Home” by Yoshiko Uchida

“Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis (series)

“The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

“Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind” by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Study Guide available on GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY)

“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd

“Dragonwings” by Laurence Yep (Study Guide available on GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY)

“The Journal of Ben Uchida” by Barry Denenberg

“Fly on the Wall” by E. Lockhart

“101 Ways to Save the Planet”  by Deborah Underwood

Challenging texts

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain (Study Guide available on GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY)

“Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell (Study Guide available on GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY)

” The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams


For students going into ESL Grade 9 (WIDA Overall Level of Proficiency: 4.5-6.0)

“Words in the Dust” by Trent Reedy

“Other Side of the Island”  by Allegra Goodman

“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

“Code Orange” by Caroline Cooney

“Mockingbird (Mok’ing’burd)” by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” an autobiography by Richard Rodriguez

For students going into ESL in Grade 9 (WIDA Overall Level of Proficiency: 3.0-4.4)

“The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan

“Slob” by Ellen Potter

“Peak” by Roland Smith

“Al Capone Shines My Shoes” by Gennifer Choldenko

“The Emperor of Nihon-Ja” by John Flanagan

“Chained” by Lynne Kelly

Eagle” by Jeff Stone

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott” by Russell Freedman

Nightby Elie Wiesel

Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry

The Summer of the Swans” by Betsy Byars


For students who are beginning to learn English (WIDA Overall Level of Proficiency: 1.0-2.9)

“One Giant Leap” by Robert BurleighAn illustrated retelling of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s lunar landing in 1969.

“Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City” by Janet SchulmanRecounts the true story of Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk living in New York City who becomes one of the city’s most-watched celebrities. Bird watchers, tourists and residents admire the bird and his nest, which is built on a Fifth Avenue apartment building.

“Mrs. Harkness and the Panda” by Alicia PotterIn 1936 Ruth Harkness completes her husband’s difficult mission to bring the first live panda back to the United States.

“How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida CowellThis silly chapter book tells the story of Viking boy Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, son of the chief. Hiccup finds himself needing to find and train a dragon, and he becomes an unlikely hero in the process. There is also an animated movie with the same title that you should watch.

“I, Vivaldi” by Janice Shefelman. This picture book biography describes how Vivaldi grew to be a famous musician, despite his mother’s vow for him to become a priest.

“Have a Hot Time, Hades!” by Kate McMullan. In this story with a modern twist, Hades tells his own version of how he became King of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods.

Herbert’s Wormhole” by Peter NelsonWhile Alex is getting to know his inventive neighbor Herbert, they unexpectedly travel to the 22nd century through a space-time wormhole where they encounter aliens, jet packs and their future selves.

Wishing you a well-deserved rest before it all starts again 🙂



photo credit: <a href=””>J. Star</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

 “Summer Reading Lists: 2013.” Education World. N.p., 2013. Web. 28 May 2013. <>.

Celebrate the completion of the Science Power Performance Task

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014


Student-Led Conferences on 20 March

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

On 20 March, we shall have our student-led conferences in the Middle School. 

A. What is a STUDENT-LED conference?

The student and parents move through the student’s class schedule. If the student has PE in A-block, for example, the child and parent will meet in the PE venue where the student will show parents some of his/her work and explain grades obtained and feedback from peers and teacher in a student-led conference.

Grades should not be the only focus. The student-led format  provides an excellent opportunity for students to share the contents of their portfolios and to explain why each item was selected for inclusion.

B. How will students prepare for the student-led conference?

First, students set up a binder to contain a portfolio of work samples to date, which may include a special project, a quiz, a homework assignment, and one assignment from which they felt they had learned the most. Then students write a reflection on their grades and study habits. They set goals for the next quarter and organized their graded work section.

C. How will teachers teach students to lead a conference?

Teachers will instruct students on how to lead the conference, assist them with collecting and preparing information to be shared with parents, and describe how to explain and interpret any information to be shared. Students learn that excuses are not acceptable and understand that they must be able to present items to their parents that depict their progress. Students who become actively involved may be motivated to improve their academic performance.

Before the conference, teachers may role-play, pretending to be the student, with the student playing the teacher or the parent. Teachers model, for example, how to explain a poor grade to parents, and they may give students a checklist of what to cover in the conference.

D. Why move from Parent-Teacher Conference to a Student-led conference?

  • to encourage students to accept personal responsibility for their academic performance;
  • to teach students the process of self-evaluation;
  • to facilitate the development of students’ organizational and oral communication skills and to increase their self-confidence;
  • to encourage students, parents, and teachers to engage in open and honest dialogue.

E. What is the role of the teacher during the student-led conference?

The teacher can assist families with the development of a plan of action that recognizes the student’s accountability for academic progress while permitting parents to support the child in appropriate ways. 


photo credit: <a href=””>mahlness</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

CONTENT and SKILLS for Quarter 3

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013


readingENGLISH: The power of words and images

1. Novel study -> discussion groups -> literary response essay

2. Advertising campaign ->logo design ->language of advertising->re-brand a product


READING – continue using metacognitive reading strategies to appreciate and analyze a novel: questioning, making inferences, determining important descriptions, visualizing from sensory-rich images, using background knowledge and world knowledge to make connections

                      – apply interactive reading skills to read for appreciation of setting, character development, plot, theme, dialogue, flashbacks, point of view and culture

WRITING – making notes and adding to notes during book group discussions

                       – expository writing to show detailed analytical understanding of a novel

SPEAKING – reading aloud from selected parts of the novel

                         – sharing thoughts, analyses and questions with book group members

                         – explaining the reasoning behind the re-branding of a product using the language of advertising

LISTENING – active listening during group discussions 


machinesSCIENCE (Pasamba): The Power of Machines

1. Chemistry until end of January

2. Physics (Lacson)


OBSERVATION: – chemical changes during chemical reactions

CONSTRUCTION: – using simple machine designs to collaborate on a system of machines to simulate a rescue mission

WRITING: – laboratory reports

                       – scientific diagrams of observations

                       – using data tables and results graphs

                       – scientific diagrams of machines

                      – application of formulae in chemistry and physics (calculations)

                      – taking detailed notes from class discussions

SPEAKING: – using specific and technical Scientific language when discussing observations and constructions

READING: – reading for background information from textbook, “Chemical Building Blocks”

                        – reading to supplement understanding from textbook and blogs


corySOCIAL STUDIES: People Power

People Power Revolution in the Philippines


INTERACTIVE READING – for understanding of the 5 phases of the revolution

                                                       – for understanding opposing views of the success/failure of the revolution

                                                       – for understanding the roles played by key people that affected the outcome of the revolution

                                                       – for making connections to Middle Eastern revolutions and revolutions in own country

WRITING – a persuasive essay: Was the PPR a success or a failure?

                      – a timeline of events

                      – a “faux” Facebook page for one of the key role players: Ferdinand Marcos and Ninoy Aquino

                      – interactive listening notes taken from videos

SPEAKING – deliver a political campaign speech

                         – contribute to group and class discussions


CLASSES CANCELLED – FRIDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2013: Work to complete at home

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Dear EAP students,

hopefully you received the message that classes have been cancelled today. This means you have much time to catch up and complete assignments:

1. EAP1: WODC #3

    EAP2: Glogster (see Social Studies/Transformation blogposts on this blogsite)

2. Social Studies 1: There are a few of you who need to complete this week’s Read and Respond. I’ve already gone through them and left grades/comments. Once you have completed your RR or fixed it, please e-mail so that I can check it tomorrow and give you a final grade.

     Social Studies 2: DUE: A/B/D BLOCKS – Social Studies on Monday

                                       a. Go to 

                                       b. Click on the slideshow (slides 10 -17). In your Social Studies notebook make notes about 5 ways the world has tried to resolve the problem of nuclear                                               proliferation. Mr Hamlin and I will check this on Monday. 

3. English: Some of you received a scaffold for Task 2 from me yesterday. Start creating a Brainframe on your poet based on the information I provided. Others will get the scaffold later today from me – so please check your e-mails as from noon. If you do not get an e-mail from me today, you have to work independently – start researching and create your brainframe (see blogpost: Also refer to Mr Burke’s blog. 

This should be enough to keep you busy today.

panic frogIf you struggle with any assignment or have questions, contact me via e-mail. I’m at school, so I am available to help you.  

Stay safe and enjoy your weekend!


CONTENT and SKILLS for Quarter 2

Friday, October 25th, 2013


Poetry Unit


READING – continue using metacognitive reading strategies to appreciate and analyze poetry

                      – apply interactive reading skills to research a poet and that poet’s impact on self/society

WRITING – creative writing of poetry using poetic devices such as similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, personification

                      – summary writing

SPEAKING – reading aloud of own poems

                         – performing poems with others

LISTENING – active listening during group discussions about a poem/poet

                          – listening for rhythm

                          – active listening of poems to draw a visualization




OBSERVATION: – chemical and physical changes during chemical reactions

                                    – changes in states of matter

WRITING: – laboratory reports

                       – scientific diagrams of observations

                       – using data tables and results graphs

SPEAKING: – using specific and technical Scientific language when discussing observation

READING: – reading for background information from textbook, “Chemical Building Blocks”

                        – reading to supplement understanding from textbook and blogs



The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons


INTERACTIVE READING – for understanding of the issue, “Elimination of Nuclear Weapons”

                                                       – for understanding of the problem, “nuclear proliferation”

                                                       – for research on a country’s contribution to the problem

                                                       – for research on a country’s position on the issue

WRITING – a brief (explanation of all of the above)

                      – a policy statement

                      – clauses for submission 

                      – interactive listening notes during the conference

SPEAKING – contribute to conference by lobbying for support of clauses

                         – contribute to conference by expressing arguments in support of clauses or against clauses





Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Dear Parents,

  please mark your calendars for the 21st and 22nd of October. It is your opportunity to meet with me to talk about your child’s progress. I encourage your child attend with you as it is great for your child to have input as well. 

  Use the online booking system to make an appointment.

Here is an article written specifically for parents of students who are students of English as an additional language.

In this article you will find:

  • Answers to your questions about parent-teacher conferences
  • Tips about how you can prepare for the conference
  • Suggested questions and topics to discuss
  • Tips about how to make the most of the conference

This information can be applied to students in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences at Your Child’s School

By: Colorín Colorado (2007)

During the academic year, ISM invites parents to come in for parent-teacher conferences. If you have received a note advising you that your child’s teacher wants to schedule a meeting with you, don’t panic. This is a standard part of the school’s efforts to build a strong partnership between parents and teachers. Whether your child is having a positive or negative experience in school, parent-teacher conferences will help you and your child’s teacher find ways to work together to ensure your child’s success.

Knowing that you have to go to your child’s school may make you feel nervous, intimidated, or frustrated as you consider the language and cultural differences that you face here . You may wonder what to expect, and what is expected of you.

Frequently asked questions

What is a parent-teacher conference?
A parent-teacher conference is a meeting between you and your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress in school. Parent-teachers conferences happen in elementary, middle, and high schools. This meeting may take place as part of the regularly-scheduled conferences held by the school each year, or your child’s teacher may contact you to schedule a meeting at other times during the school year.

You can also request a conference with your child’s teacher if you have questions or concerns about your child by contacting the teacher to set up a meeting.

How will I know when to go to the conference?
At ISM you will get information about how to book online through PowerSchool. If you work during the day and can only go to conferences after working hours, be sure to let your child’s teacher know that so you can schedule a meeting time that is convenient for both of you.

What if I don’t speak English?
If you do not feel comfortable speaking with your child’s teacher in English, you have the right to bring an interpreter that you trust to the conference. Your child’s school also may have a bilingual parent liaison who can help you find an interpreter. It’s important to find a way to overcome the language barrier in order to meet with your child’s teacher.

Why does my child’s teacher want to meet with me?
ISM teachers believe that a strong partnership between the home and school will help children succeed in school. If your child’s teacher schedules a meeting with you, it does not necessarily mean that your child is in trouble. Teachers welcome input from the parents about their children, such as information about what the child likes to do or what they are good at. Teachers also understand that each student is different and learns differently, and that no one knows your child better than you do. You may provide some insight that will help the teacher work more effectively with your child at school.

It is also helpful for teachers to know if a child is experiencing a difficult situation outside of school, such as a divorce, the death of a relative, a medical problem, or anything else that may affect the child’s mood or behavior. Knowing of such changes will help the teacher provide the child with the necessary support in the classroom.

What information will my child’s teacher give me?
Your child’s teacher will probably show you some samples of your child’s work, and may discuss your child’s progress, grades, homework, and behavior. The teacher may also ask you about any concerns that she has about your child, as well as questions about his study habits. These questions are intended to help the teacher provide your child with any additional support needed in the classroom, and are not intended to make you feel uncomfortable or defensive.

Why is it important to go to a parent-teacher conference?
Going to the parent-teacher conference provides you and the teacher an opportunity to work together as a team in order to help your child. You each have an important perspective to share — as the parent, you know your child’s personality, habits, strengths, and weaknesses. The teacher, on the other hand, has been trained professionally in the best methods of teaching, meeting individual student’s needs, how to control classroom behavior, and how to help your child succeed in school. Working together you will be able to find ways that each of you can provide the appropriate and necessary support for your child.

The conference is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about your child’s progress, to learn more about the class and what the students are studying, and to find out if you child is having difficulty with anything in particular.

In addition, the more you know about your children’s school and classes, the more likely they will be to talk about daily experiences with you. They will appreciate your concern and involvement, and they will be more likely to approach you when they have problems.

A. Before the conference

The conference with your child’s teacher will be more efficient and productive if you do some preparation beforehand. To prepare for the conference:

Talk with your child
Ask your child what his/her strongest and weakest subjects are, and which subjects he/she likes most and least. Ask your child if he/she would like you to speak about anything particular with the teacher. Make sure that your child understands that you and the teacher are meeting to help him, so that he doesn’t worry about the conference.

Prepare a list of notes
Make a list of topics that you want to discuss with the teacher and that you think the teacher should know, such as your concerns about the school, the child’s home life, any major changes in your family, habits, hobbies, part-time jobs, religious holidays, or anything that is worrying your child. Be sure to ask for input from your spouse or other adults that are caring for your child as well.

Prepare a list of questions
Preparing a list of questions will help you have a productive conversation with your child’s teacher. Prioritize the questions in case you run out of time during the conference.

The following questions are examples that will help you learn more about your child’s progress in school:

  1. What is my child expected to learn this year?
  2. How will this be evaluated?
  3. What are my child’s strongest and weakest subjects?
  4. What are some examples of these strengths and weaknesses?
  5. Does my child hand homework in on time?
  6. What types of tests and evaluations will my child have to take this year?
  7. How are my child’s test-taking skills?
  8. Is my child participating in class discussions and activities?
  9. How are my child’s social skills?
  10. Does my child seem happy at school?
  11. Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
  12. Has my child missed any classes other than his/her excused absences?
  13. Do you think my child is reaching his/her potential?
  14. What can I do at home to help support his/her academic progress?

If your child receives special services (gifted programs, special education, English classes, speech or occupational therapy, or support for a learning disability), ask about the frequency of these services and about your child’s progress with them.

B. During the conference

Be on time
Get off to the right start: come to the conference on time. Remember that other parents may also have conferences scheduled for that day; if you arrive late, you have may missed your conference altogether. You should also plan on ending the conference at the scheduled time so that other parents can start their conference on time.

Be yourself
Relax and be yourself. Remember that you and the teacher both the want the same thing: the very best for your child.

Stay calm
Stay calm during the conference. Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child’s teacher. Getting angry or upset during the conference will make it very difficult to have a positive conversation.

Ask for explanations of anything you don’t understand
Listen carefully to what the teacher says. If you don’t understand something that the teacher talks about (such as an educational term or an explanation of a school policy), don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It is important for you to understand what your child’s teacher is telling you.

Ask the most important questions early in the conference
Ask the most important questions first as you may run out of time, especially if other parents are waiting to have their conference after yours. You can always schedule another meeting with the teacher to cover any points you didn’t cover.

Respectfully discuss differences of opinion
If you disagree with the teacher, respectfully explain why you disagree. If you don’t let the teacher know about your differences of opinion, the teacher may think that you agree and will move on to the next topic. Discussing your differences with the teacher may help both of you find a more effective way to help your child.

Create an action plan
Ask your child’s teacher for specific suggestions of ways that you can help your child at home with homework, reading, organization, routines, behavioral issues, etc. Make sure you understand the teacher’s suggestions, and ask for clarification if you don’t. This list of suggestions will become the action plan. Establish a way to keep track of the child’s progress, as well as the best way to stay in touch with your child’s teacher — through phone calls, emails, notes, or meetings. Review the action plan with the teacher as you end the conference to make sure that you both have the same expectations.

C. After the conference

Talk with your child
Talk about the conference with your child. Emphasize the positive points, and be direct about problems that were discussed. If you and the teacher created an action plan, explain it to your child. Make sure that your child understands that you and the teacher created this plan to help him.

Start working on the action plan
Set the action plan in motion. To ensure that it is working, check your child’s behavior and schoolwork on a regular basis. Ask your child how he feels about school and his schoolwork.

Keep in touch with the teacher
Stay in touch with your child’s teachers. This will help you strengthen the parent-teacher partnership, and will be an important part of the child’s success in school. When a child sees that parents and teachers are working together, the child will understand that his/her education is a top priority at school and at home.

  Looking forward to seeing you then.



“Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences.” Colorin Colorado. Colorin Colorado, 2007. Web. 2 Oct. 2013. <>.

Parent Coffee for Parents with students in the EAP programme

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

ESL Parent Coffee

Welcome to EAP 13-14!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” -Charlemagne

Course Outline SY 2013-14: Grade 8

The EAP class is designed to provide your child with the individualized support they need to be successful in their mainstream academic classes.  Your child’s EAP teacher and mainstream teachers work together to ensure that your child develops both their academic and social language skills with an emphasis on reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  This course will help your child to develop effective learning strategies to interact, communicate and function in both social and academic contexts.



Students are evaluated in the following skill areas:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Transdisciplinary Skills: Personal Management and Reflection, Collaboration


It is an exciting challenge to learn another language, but it demands commitment and hard work.  It is expected that your child will actively and positively contribute in class, support their peers and come prepared to learn.


Please encourage your child to attend tutorials on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Your child should not be going home at 2:30PM on those days as teachers may require your child to attend a tutorial. In grade 8, we expect students to ask to attend tutorials with their teachers for specific guidance to complete an assignment.


The Middle School policy on homework will be followed.  If your child cannot complete an assignment, please inform teachers as soon as possible so that we can help them.  Please note that if your child is absent, it is their responsibility to complete missed work and submit the work upon their return to school.  Your child is always welcome to attend tutorials on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:35PM till 3:00PM.

Your child should spend a maximum of 45 minutes on a homework assignment. If your child spends more than that, then please contact Ms Peters. It is important for teachers to know how long it takes your child to complete an assignment or how much they can complete in 45 minutes.

Refer to the calendar on this blog for homework assignments.

PowerSchool for Parents

Please follow your child’s progress. Contact teachers early, if you have concerns. Remember a “0” always means that your child did not submit an assignment. Look if there is a comment from the teacher – you’ll notice the grade is underlined if there is a comment: P




Melodee Peters

Kim Guiry

Benjie Saez (Teaching Assistant)

What is my child learning?

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Dear Parents,


  In Social Studies this quarter, your child will read about the United Nations: its history, its role today, and how it works. It is highly recommended that you help your child by looking for resources in your home language about the United Nations for them to read in conjunction with the English text. Later on, your child will engage in research skills on a topic, such as Nuclear Disarmament. Once your child receives his/her research topic, they need to be able to access home language resources online. 

  In English, your child will be reading memoirs and will write his/her own memoir. It is important that your child has a conceptual understanding of key story elements in the home language as well. I encourage you to find memoirs written by authors in your home language for your child to read so that he/she can identify story elements and apply metacognitive reading strategies.

  In Science, we are covering three body systems: digestive system, circulatory system and respiratory system. Again, your child needs to build on their understanding of these systems in their home language. They are encouraged to translate key concepts and write explanations in their home language before attempting it in English. 

  Use this blog regularly to find out what your child is learning and ways in which to help your child at home. Also ensure your child has a bilingual dictionary that he/she brings to school every day.

Please ensure your child has the required materials for classes. 

Very important: please ensure your child arrives at school with a full water bottle. Why?


a. Drinking water revitalizes your child during the lesson. When your child feels tired or unfocused, they should take a couple of sips of water.

b. Often students complain of headaches. This can be attributed to dehydration. So prevent headaches by drinking water regularly.

c. By drinking water during PE and sports, your child is reducing the risk of cramps.

So, ultimately, your child will feel good and have energy at school for the whole day!